Wakefield equestrian campaigners want change afte rider seriously injured and horse put down following road collision

Wakefield campaigners are calling for drivers to take more care after a horse rider was knocked off her saddle in a collision and the horse put down because of its injuries.
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Julie Field has been fighting to get motorists to drive more safely around horses and improve bridleways by getting them cleared or having new ones created.

Last week her friend Kelly Jowitt was knocked from her horse following a collision with a vehicle in South Hiendley.

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She received serious injuries and her horse, Bess, had to be put down after suffering a broken leg.

Julie Field and fellow horse riders are calling for better safety conditions across the district. Picture Scott MerryleesJulie Field and fellow horse riders are calling for better safety conditions across the district. Picture Scott Merrylees
Julie Field and fellow horse riders are calling for better safety conditions across the district. Picture Scott Merrylees

Julie, who runs the Shafton and South Hiendley Horse Riding Community Facebook page, said: “When I started out on this journey I never imagined that the very thing I'm campaigning against would directly affect someone I know.

“Kelly set out on a ride same as any other day, along Brierley Road at South Hiendley.

"It left her in hospital with a broken pelvis, wrist and fingers.

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“Bess broke her lower leg and was put to sleep at the side of the road. Kelly is completely heartbroken.”

Kelly with BessKelly with Bess
Kelly with Bess

The driver stopped at the scene.

The Highway Code says that vehicles should pass horses at 10mph while keeping a distance of 2m.

Julie said that guideline is not enough and should be law.

She would like Wakefield Council’s highways department to look at measures that could be put in place to improve the situation.

She said: “I’d like the council to realise there is a big problem in the area and horse riders in the area are crying out for action, not to wait potential years for change before another horse or rider is killed.

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"I want someone or a steering group put together to work with us not against us – show us that horse riders matter.”

Julie said there are more than 500 horses and only five per cent of paths recorded as bridleways.

The British Horse Society said that in 2023 three people, as well as 66 horses, were killed on UK roads and 85 per cent of those incidents happened because a vehicle passed too closely or too quickly.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett, who has helped Julie with her campaign, said: “This was a tragedy which didn’t need to happen.

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“The vast majority of drivers on country roads take great care but a small minority need to do the same.

"Equally, the authorities need to ensure we have clear signs reminding drivers to be more careful.”

The council said it was working on road safety measures.

Gary Blenkinsop, service director for environment, streetscene and climate change, said: “Our main priority is of course the safety of all road users in our district, and we are saddened to learn of this incident.

“We consider all road safety requests very carefully.

"Although we cannot manage driver behaviour, we are working with partners through the Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries in the region.

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“We are also setting up the Active Travel Infrastructure Group, where those who use our roads and footpaths can help make improvements.

“Shafton and South Hiendley Horse Riding Community will be invited to join and share any concerns they have with us.”

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